A “VICIOUS riot” that erupted at a busy hotel in Shannon was like a “bomb” going off, a court has heard.
Shocking CCTV and social media footage of the violence that occurred in the Oakwood Arms Hotel on the night of November 17, 2018, was played at Ennis Circuit Court where eight people appeared for sentencing.
Describing a series of fights and incidents captured on video, detective sergeant Kevin O’Hagan said, “It’s 10 minutes of what can only be described as a very serious riot situation.”
The incident occurred at the 13th annual Lords of the Ring event, organised by Shannon Kickboxing Club. The court heard this was a well established event at which there had never been any trouble previously.
Approximately 350 people, including children, were in attendance when members of the Harty and McDonagh families were involved in a series of violent confrontations.
Sergeant O’Hagan said the footage showed a man being kicked unconscious, numerous bottles and glasses being thrown across the bar area and approximately 25 chairs also being hurled at different people.
The sergeant said that in his decades on the force, the violence was as “bad” as he as ever seen.
“To watch it at regular speed, it’s horrific”, he added.
A duty manager on the night later told gardaí the entire incident “was like a bomb going off”.
One of those captured on camera throwing chairs was Theresa McDonagh (37) and Judge Eoin Garavan said, “If there was a chair throwing championship, she’d probably do very well in it”.
The eight people that appeared in court were: Michael Harty (37), with an address at Rossmanagher Road, Sixmilebridge and a former address at Patrickswell, Co Limerick, and his partner Theresa McDonagh (37), also with an address at Rossmanagher, Sixmilebridge; Edward Harty (29), with an address at Ballymulcashel, Kilmurry and a previous address in Patrckswell, Co Limerick; Martin McDonagh (22), of St Helen’s Park, Ballymurtagh, Shannon; Bernard McDonagh (29), with an address at St Helen’s Park, Ballymurtagh, Shannon; John McDonagh (22), with an address at Ballymurtagh Cross, Shannon; Thomas McDonagh (21), with an address at Ballymurtagh Cross, Shannon and Patrick McDonagh (26), with an address at St Helen’s Park, Ballymurtagh, Shannon.
All eight pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Michael Harty and Bernard McDonagh each pleaded guilty to additional charges of assault.
Barrister for Michael Harty, Brian McInerney SC, said this was a “spontaneous and utterly appalling event and everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves”.
Judge Eoin Garavan imposed two-year suspended sentences on all eight and ordered all accused to each pay €1,500.
Judge Garavan described the violence as “protracted, extremely violent and terrifying”.
He said this was a “vicious riot or violent dispute” where people, including children were distressed by the aggression of the people involved.
The judge said certain difficulties could arise if individual parties were subject to different sentences.
He said the eight accused “should be regarded as one large gang of violent aggressive people”.
Judge Garavan said he accepted the incident was spontaneous and fuelled by alcohol.
The court heard that since the event, Shannon Kickboxing club had been unable to get insurance for other events.
Judge Garavan directed that each accused each pay €1500 with the money to be given to the club.